Monday, July 12, 2010

Quotes of the day

It is a sign of wisdom that if someone really important asks you for the answer to a very important problem, and you have nothing new, true and important to say, say nothing.--Eric Falkenstein

HOW DOES one remember God, reach for God, realize God in the midst of one’s life if one is constantly being overwhelmed by that life? It is one thing to encourage contemplation, prayer, quiet spaces in which God, or at least a galvanizing awareness of his absence (“Be present with your want of a Deity, and you shall be present with the Deity,” as the 17th-century poet Thomas Traherne puts it), can enter the mind and heart. But the reality of contemporary American life—which often seems like a kind of collective ADHD—is that any consciousness requires a great deal of resistance, and how does one relax and resist at the same time?--Christian Wiman

You can’t believe in something you don’t.--Ricky Gervais

Perhaps I am being overly harsh, and the division I perceive is simply one between insiders like me who do [investment banking] for a living and outsiders without germane experiences of their own to call upon. In any event, the disjunction has explained to my total satisfaction most economists' thorough misunderstanding of and inability to explain my business without making complete asses of themselves. Oh, and by the way, while quality has certainly improved since I started in investment banking 20 years ago, it remains true, for example, that the banker who wishes to remain employed will always check the accuracy of third party data against original sources before he incorporates it into his own work product. So much for the reliability of external datasets when real money—as opposed to, let's say, a research grant—is on the line. Oh snap.--Epicurean Dealmaker

A regular laptop is like your boss: always making you wait before giving you busy-work assignments. The iPad is more like a punctual lover. It's always ready for fun.--Scott Adams

[A politician's] promises to voters to pursue science rather than politics are as credible as a prostitute’s promises to a client to pursue love rather than profit.--Don Boudreaux

A 2300 page bill is usually an indication of many political compromises. The Dodd-Frank financial reform bill is no exception, for it is a complex, disorderly, politically motivated, and not well thought out reaction to the financial crisis that erupted beginning with the panic of the fall of 2008. Not everything about the bill is bad-e.g., the requirement that various derivatives trade through exchanges may be a good suggestion- but the disturbing parts of the bill are far more important.--Gary Becker

It has come to this: Congress, quite by accident, is incentivizing death. When the Senate allowed the estate tax to lapse at the end of last year, it encouraged wealthy people near death's door to stay alive until Jan. 1 so they could spare their heirs a 45% tax hit. Now the situation has reversed: If Congress doesn't change the law soon—and many experts think it won't—the estate tax will come roaring back in 2011.--Laura Saunders And Mary Pilon

Consider that the latest estimated cost of the BP spill is $33 billion. That’s a lot of money, to be sure. But this sum pales in comparison to the amount of money that Wal-Mart’s retailing efficiencies are estimated to save consumers each year: $200 billion.* Oil spills are compellingly photographable – and, hence, attention-getting and emotion-stirring. In contrast, lower prices for – which, by the way, mean fewer resources used to bring to market – clothing, children’s toys, digital cameras, camping equipment, kitchen appliances, groceries, and other goods that we routinely enjoy are not photographable in any compelling way. The result is that the social benefits of corporate innovations and competition are easily overlooked, ignored, taken for granted, forgotten. But these benefits are enormous. And any assessment of the worthiness of corporations in modern life had best take them into accurate account lest we adopt policies that make us all poor and miserable.--Don Boudreaux

[Greece], whose financial crisis roiled the global financial system this year, is spending more than a billion euros on two submarines from Germany. It's also looking to spend big on six frigates and 15 search-and-rescue helicopters from France. In recent years, Greece has bought more than two dozen F16 fighter jets from the U.S. at a cost of more than €1.5 billion. Much of the equipment comes from Germany, the country that has had to shoulder most of the burden of bailing out Greece and has been loudest in condemning Athens for living beyond its means. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has admonished the Greek government "to do its homework" on debt reduction. The military deals illustrate how Germany and other creditors have in some ways benefited from Greece's profligacy, and how that is coming back to haunt them.--Christopher Rhoads

So, Girardi made what seems to me an odd choice here based on six points in batting average (a flawed statistic, as we have often discussed), six RBIs (an even more flawed statistics, as we have discussed even more often) and two home runs (Konerko hits in what has long been the best home run park in the league, and he has hit 15 of his 20 homers at home). Ridiculous.--Joe Posnanski

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